Media Release

28/11/2014
Bad jobs going nowhere
A study led by a James Cook University economist has found casual jobs may be psychologically destructive for job seekers, predisposing them to go from one bad job to the next.

Bad jobs going nowhere

A study led by a James Cook University economist has found casual jobs may be psychologically destructive for job seekers, predisposing them to go from one bad job to the next.

Using government-funded longitudinal data that tracks job satisfaction and expectations, Dr Riccardo Welters and his team compared the experiences of people who were forced to look for new jobs, against those who voluntarily decided to find a new job.

Those who voluntarily searched from within secure employment were found to be much happier with their new job than those forced to search from within insecure employment.

Dr Welters said the study used data spanning eleven years and controlled for the type of job and business cycles. It included pre and post-GFC data.

He said the study was a test of what’s known as Self Determination Theory.

“The theory predicts employees who are forced to look for new, better jobs, because they are on casual or involuntary part-time contracts, will have less success than those with autonomous motivation – people in secure employment who don’t have to look for a job. This study confirms it.”

He said the proportion of casual work in Australia had risen from just over 13 percent of jobs in 1982 to more than 23 percent by 2012.

“Successive governments have allowed the casualisation of permanent jobs. It was supposed to lead to more jobs and career advancement, but the data shows many people in casual or involuntary part-time employment are not making any improvements in their situation and are not going anywhere.”

Dr Welters said the IMF was still talking about deregulation as a job creation device, despite there being no clear evidence to support its position.

“In the past ten or twenty years or so, the share of profits going to workers has decreased and the share going to owners has increased. I can’t sit here and say definitively that’s the whole purpose of these policies, but I can’t see any other reason.”

Contact:

Dr Riccardo Welters

E: Riccardo.welters@jcu.edu.au

Link to research: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167487014000415